Having a “mission-based” company is the rage. Based on data that suggests Millennials and Gen Z care about it, more and more companies are being clear about what they’re for and why they exist. They have splashy pages on their websites about their values and culture. They take visible, public stands on ethical issues.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a good mission. And ethics and values should be key parts of corporate culture.
But it’s easy for companies to simply say they’re in favor of things. Big, bold-font mission statements with glowing promises. Warm and fuzzy values statements that talk about empowering their work-force. Promises of an employee-led culture.
At the end of the day, it’s only real if you incentivize it. That is, not just say what you’re in favor of, but tangibly support, encourage and put money behind. These pronouncements either guide your company’s actions and behaviors, and, importantly, who gets promoted and who gets fired, or they are just more fake news.
In other words, if your culture trumpets collaboration and teamwork but you continue to promote bad actors who create toxicity, then you’re blowing smoke.
If you promise a “client-centric” service, but are hiding costs and overcharging, then you’re faking it.
Your mission only matters if you’re willing to incentivize it.